Definition of dystocia in English:



mass nounMedicine Veterinary Medicine
  • Difficult birth, typically caused by a large or awkwardly positioned fetus, by smallness of the maternal pelvis, or by failure of the uterus and cervix to contract and expand normally.

    ‘the incidence of dystocia or difficult calvings’
    • ‘In gestational diabetes, shoulder dystocia is the complication most anticipated at the time of delivery.’
    • ‘Her last child weighed 4.4 kg at birth and slight shoulder dystocia was noted at delivery.’
    • ‘Male calves resulting from these matings express a higher incidence of dystocia than heifer calves because male calves are gestated longer and have considerably larger birthweights.’
    • ‘Mott's family started selecting sires for lower birth weights years ago, sacrificing some growth but reducing dystocia.’
    • ‘Additional prospective studies are necessary to establish the usefulness of this diagnostic modality to predict dystocia, so it is not recommended at this time.’


Early 18th century from Greek dustokia, from dus- ‘difficult’ + tokos ‘childbirth’.